Are you “old school” when it comes to setting up a system? Are you one of those folks who wants physical media that they can use for installing a new OS rather than using a program? Maybe your disk died and you need to re-install from scratch. Maybe your disk is physically OK, but somehow the partition tables got whacked, so you no longer have a recovery partition. Or you had to install by cloning from another disk (hand raised) so you don’t have a recovery partition.
OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) was the last OS issued on a DVD by Apple. The follow up, 10.7 (Lion), was available as a download from the Mac App Store, or (for a hefty price) you could get it on a USB thumb drive from Apple. With 10.8 (Mountain Lion), Apple decided you needed a fast Internet connection if you wanted to upgrade – no physical media of any sort was available. And the same is true of 10.9 (Mavericks). So what do you do if you need physical media?
There are articles on the web that will show you how to make a bootable thumb drive (a Google search returns a lot of articles and videos). It used to be pretty easy, but Apple made it more difficult with Mavericks (I guess they didn’t like people making those thumb drives or DVDs). In any case, it’s not as simple as it used to be. But if you have to have physical media, there is a simple answer – a program called DiskMaker X.
DiskMaker X is an AppleScript program written by Guillaume Gète. With it, you can create a bootable thumb drive, external drive, or an SD card. It will walk you through the whole process. All you need to do is follow the prompts and supply a 8 GB partition on some media. You can use it to build an installer for Lion, Mountain Lion, or Mavericks. While it runs on Snow Leopard and above, there’s currently a bug that prevents it from creating a Mavericks installer while running on Snow Leopard.
I used it to get my install going – I put it on a partition on an external drive that I made just for this. And since it’s an AppleScript, you can look inside and learn how things work – it’s an educational tool! But isn’t the author worried you won’t pay him if it’s an AppleScript you can pry into and copy?
Nope – he originally offered it as donationware (pay if you want – and I sent him something). But his donation page says he’s gotten plenty of donations, and he now asks you donate the money to someone who needs it more, like the Red Cross for disaster relief.